Babies being served booze

boozing babesIt’s a parent’s nightmare and an instant public relations crisis.

This article on USA Today looks into a couple of these restaurant mishaps – babies being served booze! Something most of us never thought would happen is now front page news and on the minds of a lot of parents.

Within one month two different incidents were reported at two of the nation’s largest casual dining chains, Applebee’s and Olive Garden.

So how do these restaurants win back the loyalty of worried parents? Well, they can either ignore the issue and release statements like this one made by Applebee’s.

“In an industry that serves more than 150 million meals every day, these are two extremely rare occurrences. However, we believe that even one incident like this is too many.”

Or they could face the issue, react quickly and positively. A couple of suggestions from restaurant operators: retrain staff, rethink alcoholic drink policies, limit bar use, be forthcoming and involve consumers in new regulations. Concerning communications get your messaging clear – from the hostess and servers on the front line, to your media statements.

After all, this juicy story is out and now diners want to know, what restaurants will do to ensure their child will never be served anything more to drink than a soft drink.

@S.O.S.

SOS JapanTwo tweets to @AmbassadorRoos were all it took to mobilize aid from U.S. troops to Kameda hospital in Japan.

A USA Today article explores the ways help was deployed through social media and more specifically, Twitter, after Japan’s catastrophic earthquake.

Nine days after the disaster hit two urgent pleas for help appeared on the Twitter stream of U.S. Ambassador John Roos.

“Kameda hospital in Chiba needs to transfer 80 patients from Kyoritsu hospital in Iwaki city, just outside of 30km(sic) range.”

“Some of them are seriously ill and they need air transport. If US military can help, pls contact (name withheld) at Kameda.”

These tweets instantly sent an S.O.S. to the top U.S. diplomat in Japan.

During all the chaos Twitter proved to be more reliable than phones, emails and even, Facebook. Two hours after the disaster Red Cross teams in Virginia seized a tweet from a housewife in Japan who reported the roof of a school gym in Kokubunzi had collapsed with students trapped inside. Soon after helicopters were hovering overhead, rescuing everyone inside.

Twitter is quickly leading the way in sharing breaking news and communicating in times of emergency. It’s only been five years and Twitter is already alerting first responders to emergencies, creating crisis maps for rescue teams in disaster zones and helping friends and family find lost loved-ones. What we are learning is it’s not the experts who know something; it’s someone in the crowd.